[FoRK] 10 Trends for the '10s

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sun Mar 21 05:12:14 PDT 2010

A few comments...

Ken says:

> Our collective inability to rapidly assimilate really new stuff will inhibit...

Indeed most of these are bets on adoption curves and on technological incremental improvement, not anything really new.  So, we'll see.

Meta:  Ken says "So, as an industry participant (computer and telecom) and observer of over three decades..."  Recall that industry vets of vast experience and wisdom, only 16 years ago, were thinking that the Internet per se was going to be congruent to AOL and its competitors;  and then think about what a broad impact it has had on our personal and commercial lives in the meantime, particularly for those younger folks that have spent most of their life in an Internet era.  Sometimes it feels as if things flow like molasses, but actually significant change occurs quickly even now --- yet we often forget how dramatic the changes are even over fairly short time frames.  This phenomenon will only continue as pure technical innovation rates, populations, and interconnectedness each continue to grow.

Re:  disaggregation of content and pipe, it is a commercial issue but it's also technology-dependent.  This wasn't possible, for example, just a few years ago as delivery of quality video over average Internet pipes to average machines at reasonable consumer costs wasn't possible.  It is now, *and* we're approaching a ceiling on the quality demands of such content, so I see no reason why the producers won't make a move to break channel lock-in.  Particularly with the kind of crap going on these days between e.g. the networks and the cablecos, cf. NY and the Oscar hostage situation.

Interestingly, one of the predictions I feel most confident about --- number of connected devices --- is one of the ones Ken apparently disagrees with most.  That's a simple and straightforward mathematical extrapolation (cf. Poor's Law) from current and recent change rates, and little obvious friction to prevent it.  We'll see.

Re:  wire vs. wireless, I think everybody *will indeed* have wireless.  But that's not sufficient for a lot of the apps;  wire will continue to beat wireless for e.g. video distribution for the foreseeable future.  (You can't even do reasonable h.264 from a single security camera in a medium-large multistory house with noisy ambient EM.  I know;  I tried recently, and ended up retrofitting miles of new structured wiring into this relatively-new (10 yr-old) house as a result.  And that's a far cry from the demands of multiple sink-source streams of UHD.)  It's not that wireless speed-per-dollar won't continue to grow;  it's that absent some true magic-happens-here you're going to continue to enjoy several orders-magnitude better capability over a wire than wireless, and all the interesting apps will continue to live in that end of the bandwidth-requirement spectrum.  Immersive gaming, for example, will be a driver;  even today, you don't see serious gamers running over wi-fi.

FWIW, too, I predict that copper will continue to be king.  No broad adoption of fiber-everywhere in e.g. residential apps, or even necessarily elsewhere, for the decade.  (Only pure photonic end-to-end computing would alter that equation, and I don't see that being likely soon.)

James says:

> Trite and mostly useless augmented reality will go mainstream.

Not disagreeing.  Cf. porn driving tech;  in this case, it's the real-life hook-up and other banalities that will drive AR.  The real meat of that prediction is the availability and broad acceptance of the glasses display technology;  I've already missed on that one once, figured we'd be there by now, said as much here a few years back.  Was wrong.  Will try again.  ;-)

Re:  artificial nations:

> It would be cool, but I doubt it.

Admittedly this one is the flyer in the bunch.   Here's how it could go down:  Peter Thiel finally gets truly fed up, buys a cruise ship, anchors one mile out of US territorial waters, and declares independence.  Perhaps after (ahem) "incentivizing" enough banana republics in the UN to recognize his national status once he does this...  

Not so far out, really.  Particularly if the issue of virtual currencies is resolved.  Cf. the Indian offshoring company running things out of ships off San Diego, absent nation status;  also SeaLand, for what that's worth.

Re:  Google, we'll see.  I have little doubt Amazon will make the list;  it's not there yet, though.



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